Tuesday, 29 June 2010
Sunday, 27 June 2010
A short summary of the visitors we've had so far:
- 2 x crazy, fun-loving, affable, not-very-concerned-about-time Mexicans
- 1 x chilled, sweet, un-British Brit who lives in Barcelona
- 2 x lovely, can't-drive-a-stick-shift-but-game-for-anything-else, thoughtful Americans from South Carolina
- 2 x self-sufficient, quiet, pleasant New Yorkers (originally from the Philippines)
- 2 x generous, curious Canadians (1 of whom was born in Romania and grew up in Spain)
- 2 x relaxed, easy-to-talk-to Aussies who have been travelling for three months
- 2 x young, friendly Malaysians (at the stadium as I type)
TSC and I are loving it, although it is rather exhausting to host all these people. We are looking forward to a break next week between guests and are considering finding a nice sunny spot to getaway for a day or two and be looked after by someone else.
Three guests to go and then we're done. I'm going to miss the buzz and meeting new people, but I am so keen for some sleep!
Thursday, 24 June 2010
Monday, 21 June 2010
At least we have a self-sufficient couple of guests staying with us at present, which means that yesterday we actually had a free day. They are New Yorkers, which may explain it. They have a rental car and we only see them briefly in the mornings before they disappear to explore Joburg or in the evenings before they go to bed.
I must say, it's a nice break from having guests who have totally underestimated the lack of public transport options in South Africa and need us to drive them everywhere. Shame, the last couple we had was also from the USA and they had a rental too. Problem was, they'd never driven a "stick shift" / manual car before, so it was pretty useless for them. They eventually handed it in early because trying to learn how to operate the gears at the same time as the clutch was just too much, especially seeing everything here is also on the opposite side of the vehicle and we drive on the other side of the road. Apparently renting an automatic is double the price though. They'd just assumed the car would be automatic and were REALLY surprised to find out that most of our cars here are manual.
Saw Toy Story 3 yesterday. LOVED IT. I was surprised by that. Sequels generally suck, but this was divine. I definitely recommend it.
Anyway, off to pick up the Mexicans from the Gautrain now, so must dash. Hope to be a better blogger this week!
Monday, 14 June 2010
Friday's opening soccer match of the World Cup between South Africa and Mexico had us all on the edge of our seats. The 1-1 draw was probably the best result for TSC and I, seeing we had two Mexicans staying with us ;-) At least relations were still friendly. I'd have loved our Bafana to win though, obviously.
Saturday turned out to be far more exciting than expected - we headed to the FIFA ticketing centre to see if we could still get tickets for any of the games, now that we have a better idea of what our guests are up to and when we will be free.
We managed to get Premier Tickets for the Nigeria / Argentina game at Ellis Park that afternoon. They cost a fortune, but we figured it's a once-in-a-lifetime experience, so we took the plunge and let our poor credit card take a beating.
In the afternoon, we travelled with our two Mexicans to the stadium, us wearing our SA kit (TSC insisted on wearing his Springbok jersey in support of the Boks, but he did let me paint our flag on his cheek) and them wearing their Mexican wrestling masks. While we drove we listened to the Afrikaans radio commentary of the Boks thrashing the French rugby team. The commentator was getting very excited when Gurtho Steenkamp charged down the field to score a try. The Mexicans obviously had no idea what was potting and asked us if Gurtho Steenkamp was some sort of rude phrase. We said yes, in a manner of speaking. If you're French, it is ;-)
It took us ages to get to the Park and Walk facilities at Athlone Boys' School. We walked almost 2km to the stadium, which I thought was great fun - families came out into the street to blow vuvuzelas and cheer on the groups walking to Ellis Park and enterprising locals tried to sell flags, vuvuzelas and other paraphernalia.
At the stadium, I stopped to paint South African flags on the cheeks of some Japanese visitors before we made our way to our box / suite. When we got there we discovered that we had no seats. Either FIFA oversold the seats available, or people had climbed into our box from the one adjacent, but there was nowhere for us to sit.
We were furious, having paid a huge sum for the tickets. Thankfully, there were two seats available in the box next to ours, which was filled with Nigerian fans. A kind Nigerian gentleman named Andrew let us sit next to him. When he invited us into their box at half-time for a drink and snacks, we realised (on seeing the bodyguards) that we were in the Nigerian presidential box!
Thank you, Andrew, whomever you may be. You saved our game.
It was another nail-biting game. We blew our vuvuzela until we were light-headed and cheered Nigeria on. Unfortunately, the hooligans from Argentina tried to hang one of their banners in front of our seats, but the police came along and took it down, putting an end to the fight (which was about to get physical) between the Nigerians and the Argentinians.
The game, as I'm sure most of you know, ended 1-0 to the Argentinian side.
We said goodbye to the Nigerians we'd met, after stopping to help them take photos of the group, met up with the Mexicans, walked back to the school, sat for 30min trying to get out of the parking field and headed to Nandos for supper.
Apparently our cricket team also performed well against the Windies, but aside from watching the game live, my favourite part of the weekend was last night's Grand Prix, which was epic. Not a single boring lap and my boys from McLaren came in first and second (and in the order I prefer). We watched with our Italian neighbours at our place, having taken the Mexicans to the airport for their two-day Cape Town joint.
What a cool weekend. Hope yours was good too!
Friday, 11 June 2010
WOW. It's been insane.
And yet I'm so happy right now. Perhaps it's because that deadline for the massive freelance project is gone and the work is done, or perhaps it's because my guests have not burnt down my house, but turned out to be extremely cool people instead. Or perhaps it's because I've had a couple of glasses of red wine, or because my cat is sleeping next to me on the bed. Or because World Cup Fever has hit. Or because my head has gone loopy from all the vuvuzelas blown in my ears.
But whatever the case, I am exhausted and yet excited. And I am sorry I haven't read your blogs this past while, but I promise you that I have not even had time to learn the Diski or file the annoying hang nail on my right hand.
I will try to be better next week, when the Mexicans have gone off to Cape Town for a bit. Until then, I will dream of visiting Mexico in the brief periods its locals give me to sleep.
And think of the extra line to the song we've given them... Waka waka eh eh... gaan kak in die mielies ;-)
Feel free to translate in the comments sections for the readers abroad, all you saffers.
Oh, and have a happy first game today. Go BAFANA!!!
Wednesday, 2 June 2010
Yes, this self employment thing has its benefits. Aside from the sound of the washing machine and the builders somewhere in the complex, all is quiet. No incessant phone ringing. No annoying music playing (that always drove me mad at the office). I had done more by 9am this morning than I would normally have accomplished by lunch time at the office.
Of course, it also has its pitfalls. Like yesterday, when TSC was at home trying to study for his geology exam and the once-a-week cleaner and gardener we employ were also here. Between the vacuum cleaner, lawn mower and constant questions (What does argillaceous mean? Where's the tile cleaner? Can I cut this branch off?) I got nothing done. It was infuriating.
I'm guessing that Tuesdays will be my client meeting and outings days in future.
The cats can't quite decided whether me working from home is a good thing or not. On the one hand (paw) they know that I am now at their beck and call all day long. But on the other, they can't get up to mischief without me knowing about it either.
There's two sides to every coin, hey ;-)